In the absence of any agreement which may be reached concerning the UK's withdrawal from the EU, the .eu Top Level Domain will no longer apply to the UK from 30 March 2019.
This means that individuals residing, and companies established or having their registered office, in the UK will not be eligible to register .eu domain names, and will not be able to renew any such registrations they currently own. The registry will also be entitled to revoke .eu domain name registrations where such ineligible individuals or companies are listed as the registrant.
Further, parties will be unable to invoke rights only recognised or established in the UK (e.g. UK trade mark registrations) to found revocation actions relating to speculative or abusive registrations for identical or confusingly similar domain names.
This stands to impact over 300,000 .eu domain names registered to UK-based companies and individuals.
Domain name owners should review existing portfolios and, where possible, transfer domain names to a suitable entity if the current registrant will not be eligible after Brexit, should they wish to maintain the registration. This may involve intra-group transferring of domain name ownership.
Anyone involved in an acquisition, whether a share sale or asset sale, involving domain names should also take care. If an .eu domain name forms part of a proposed transaction, consider whether:
- the target (share sale) or purchasing entity (asset sale) will be an eligible registrant after 30 March 2019, and/or
- the rights which support the domain name's registration are recognised in the EU and will need to form part of the transaction to maintain the registration.